Look beyond rhetoric, support Prop R 2006

To the editor:

As a member of the Lindbergh Board of Education, I found Aaron Hilmer’s recent letter to the editor to be a disappointing blend of generalized discontent, mischaracterization and misdirection.

Mr. Hilmer advances the position that the voters should cast a “no” vote for Lindbergh’s Prop R 2006 in November, but at the same time fails to address or discuss the merits for opposing a single project contained in the ballot proposition. Rather than address the Lindbergh ballot issue, Mr. Hilmer advocates a broad-brush “just-say-no” approach to Lindbergh’s Prop R 2006 and attempts to paint local school districts with a broad brush.

Mr. Hilmer also erroneously insinuates that by voting “no,” Lindbergh’s tax rate could be reduced by a significant amount, similar to the reduction he cites for the Mehlville Fire Protection District. He conveniently omits mention of the fact that:

• Lindbergh’s tax rate is already the second lowest in the metropolitan St. Louis area while providing a quality education to its students — as validated by its outstanding MAP results for the past six years.

• Prop R 2006 does not seek a tax increase, but rather an extension of the bond rate for capital improvements. This merits repeating — again. Lindbergh is seeking an extension of an existing tax rate, not an increase in taxes.

For the record, Lindbergh’s Proposition R 2006 will address two important areas — safety and critical building needs — at all eight district schools. The projects addressed by Prop R 2006 include:

• Interior locking safety doors.

• Fire alarm systems.

• Security surveillance.

• Roof replacements.

• A limited classroom addition at Kennerly Elementary.

• A partial building replacement of the oldest portion of Sappington Elementary.

These projects were identified by representatives of the District Oversight Committee and Parent Safety Committees from each of Lindbergh’s schools. The Board of Education concluded that these are critical building needs that must be addressed.

Finally, Mr. Hilmer attempts to assail the compensation package of Lindbergh’s superintendent of schools, despite the fact that it has nothing to do with Prop R. In making his flippant statement regarding Dr. Sandfort’s compensation package, Mr. Hilmer conveniently omits reference to:

• Dr. Sandfort’s longevity as the longest-serving superintendent in the metropolitan St. Louis area.

• The fact that nearly one-third of the superintendents in the metropolitan St. Louis area have a compensation package that exceeds Dr. Sandfort’s.

• The policy of the Lindbergh Board of Education to pay for performance — and as revealed by the latest MAP testing — Lindbergh schools have performed. Lindbergh was only one of six districts in the metropolitan St. Louis area to meet the federal mandates of the No Child Left Behind program and is poised be recognized by Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for Distinction in Performance for the sixth consecutive year.

• The fact that Dr. Sandfort has issued the Superintendent’s Challenge where he will contribute up to $5,000 as a dollar-for-dollar match for a parent, staff or community contributors who are willing to invest in a scholarship fund dedicated to student leadership development.

As a board, we have openly and fully discussed plans for Prop R 2006, actively soliciting input from the Lindbergh community — and for the record — Mr. Hilmer offered none. As a board, we remain committed to meeting our community’s expectations to provide safe facilities for our students. We urge our constituents to look beyond the rhetoric of mischaracterization and misdirection and support Prop R 2006.

Mark R. Rudoff


Lindbergh Board of Education